From the time I could pour my own milk, food has played an important role in my life. The thought of food often bypasses my appetite and makes a beeline for my emotions. A growl of my stomach can turn into a tug on my heart. An unexpected whiff of cinnamon reminds me to call home.
As we race to manage our social media and wade through new functions on our smart phones, it’s not surprising that many of us feel the need to slow down, keep life simple and get back to basics. A renewed appreciation for basic home cooking is comforting in these hurried times. Familiar flavors trigger memories of the streets we grew up on and the favorite meals we shared at the dinner table.
In the same way, it’s soothing to take a break from the architectural drama of high tech desserts and just relax into the mellow yellow of a sweet old fashioned lemon cake. In this recipe I took a simple semi homemade lemon cake recipe and gave it a major flavor boost, then dressed it up with a luscious lavender cream filling. Beyond the rich lemony flavor, the color of a sunny bright yellow lemon cake has a healing power all it’s own.
Meyer Lemon Cake with Raspberries and Lavender Cream
Recipe by Erica Galindo (www.sonomachristianhome.com)
Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 40 mins Total time: 55 mins
1 Box Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme Cake Mix
3.4 oz. Jello Lemon Flavor Instant Pudding
1/4 cup of Meyer Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3 oz. water
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cream Creme fraiche
3 tablespoons lavender honey
1/2 tablespoon dried lavender buds, ground.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 teaspoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 pints fresh raspberries
1-2 teaspoons powdered sugar
Thin slices of lemon
Preheat oven to 350º In a large bowl mix all cake ingredients with an electric mixer at high speed until thick. Pour batter into two greased 9” round baking pans. Bake at 350º for approximately 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and transfer to wire racks: cool completely.
In a small heavy saucepan bring the creme fraiche, honey, vanilla and ground lavender blossoms to a boil, then remove from heat and let steep, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain through a micro mesh sieve into a bowl and chill, covered, until cold.
Put the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl. Whisk together until smooth and blended. Set aside.
Place first lemon cake layer on serving plate: spread top with 1 cup of the lavender cream filling. Top with second cake layer. Pierce the top layer in an even pattern; slowly spoon the glaze across the top of the cake. Cover with fresh raspberries. Dust with a light sprinkle of powdered sugar then arrange lemon slices around the bottom of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.